Garden Destinations: Bellingrath Gardens Alabama

bellingrath gardesn mobile alabama

One of the stories about the making of this garden caught my ear and I wanted to share it.  The Bellingrath Garden (which is about 20 minutes from Mobile, Alabama) was built by Walter and Bessie Bellingrath.   Both were very generous benefactors to local organizations but Bessie was known to take generosity and kindness one step further.  The Bellingraths were responsible for bringing Coca-Cola to much of the south and they did not suffer as others did during the great depression.  So the sweet story goes something like this…..

“As the economic depression worsened, friends quietly kept Mrs. Bellingrath aware of families in need.  She would appear checkbook in hand, begging for an azalea, camellia or whatever bloom she saw in the family yard.  She would convince the stunned homeowner that Bellingrath Gardens had been unable to locate one and then offer hundreds of dollars in an era when the U.S. government declared that $25 per week was a comfortable income. ”

I think that there is something so special about knowing the origin of a plant – as in and who gave them, why and and where they came from.  This garden must be so rich with this type of history.

bellingrath gardens alabama

There is a lot going on at the Bellingrath gardens, you can take a river cruise of the Fowl River (on which the property is positioned) there is a huge rose garden and many other themed gardens and the house is also open.

These images (all by Karl Gercens) show just how lovely the gardens are.  Have you been here? Can you share your own experiences?

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. David C. on May 9, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    What a nice story; I was unaware of that generosity of the Mrs Bellingrath. Have visited there a few times, most recently in May 2003; took loads of pictures while there! It was so well designed and nicely maintained…but of course, my favorite thing had to be all the live oaks.

  2. Susan W on May 10, 2011 at 8:40 am

    My daughter and I have a tradition of visiting gardens for Mother’s Day. Last year she took me to Bellingrath Gardens and I cannot tell you how beautiful it is! The riverboat is a fun little excursion and a cool treat on a hot Alabama day.
    The Bellingrath’s were such lovely, generous people and their garden is a testament to that.

  3. Jenn on May 10, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    “She would convince the stunned homeowner that Bellingrath Gardens had been unable to locate one …”

    Oh, that is beautiful. Dignity intact. That’s fantastic.

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